Fragments in the Modern City
St Columb’s stone is built into a crucifixion scene outside the Long Tower Church. It is described as a ‘balaun’ by archaeologists, which is a catch all term for a stone with a human made indentation in the middle of it. Most were simply used for grinding corn but this one has two holes reputedly associated with the Saint. It was relocated from the Bogside in the Nineteenth Century. It certainly has had ceremonial associations for a very long period.
St Columb’s Well in the Bogside was originally one of three holy wells near each other, this is now marked by a late Victorian pump but as a site it appears to date from earliest times – perhaps even pre Christian - when some wells were venerated in their own right. Above it, on the slope back up towards the present city walls, one can imagine the sacred oak grove that gives the city its name (Derry, or ‘Doire’ in Gaelic, means oak grove).
St Columb’s Stone is located in the grounds of Belmont House School, this stone is also of great antiquity. It has two feet shaped indentations on a large flat surface. It was used as an inauguration stone by the O’Doherty family in the late Middle Ages and there is no reason not to presume that they picked a stone which had far longer
The early monastery appears to have been located on or near to the site of the present St Augustine’s Church within the present city walls. The Church itself was probably rebuilt and expanded as the site grew in importance. The current church has undergone many changes. It is a Victorian rebuild of a Georgian predecessor which was a rebuild of the medieval church. It is not known if some of its fabric is medieval. However the medieval church was reportedly aligned differently to avoid the Oak Trees.